Attack of the Blog Bashers

Opinion: Online and print media can and should complement each other, but harsh invective from established newstand publications undermines progress.

In its November 14th issue, Forbes magazine published a cover story titled "Attack of the Blogs!" The deck read, "They destroy brands and wreck lives. Is there any way to fight back?"

The article, which is by Daniel Lyons, is deceptive, specious, and just plain bad journalism.

With this article, Mr. Lyons and Forbes do us, as readers, a disservice, and we should mistake neither Lyons fuming gasconade nor Forbes absentee editorial oversight for proper journalism.

Several well-respected critics and online commentators have already repliedto the article, and I will try not to duplicate their remarks here.

And I am not an indefatigable defender of all things Weblog, so you wont hear me yawping about the superiority of online reportage, the death of print or the supercilious nature of mainstream media.

Lyons does get some things right in the article: He is right that attack blogs represent a small sliver of the rapidly expanding blogosphere (just as I hope that his attack article represents a small sliver of Forbes coverage).

And he is right to question blog hosts association with their blog content, especially where ad-related money is exchanging hands. (Although I guess hes forgotten that Forbes runs ads next to his slanted reporting as well.)

But he is wrong to represent bloggers solely through examples such as Timothy Miles. Lyons is conflating Miles intentions with his technology. The EFF makes that point terrifically well in its parody,which inveighs against pamphleteering technology to great effect.

Just Bad Journalism

I cant speak to all of Lyons points, but I would like to take him to task on some of his most egregious errors.

The worst: In his sidebar entitled "Who is Pamela Jones," he misrepresents the story to such a degree that one can only hope he was given false information. Otherwise, he willfully misrepresented the facts.

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